Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been ruling the hearts of soccer fans around the world. Both the legends of the game are known for their magnificent playing style and goal-scoring abilities. The veterans of soccer have been termed as the greatest of this generation.
However, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have not just been ruling the soccer world. Both players have also been termed as the most-paid soccer players multiple times in the last decade or so. However, CR7 peeps his Argentinian counterpart when it comes to raking the first spot. Leo doesn’t even come close to the Portuguese’s enigma in topping the list.
As per the reports, the Portuguese veteran has made the top of the list six times in the last 10 years. The 38-year-old is the most-paid soccer athlete for the year – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2021, 2023.
In comparison, Lionel Messi has topped the chart three times in the last 10 years. The Argentinian was the most-paid soccer star in the year – 2018, 2019, and 2020.
According to the reports, for the year 2023, CR7 tops the list with a total earning in the range of $260 million. These figures have been reached by accumulating both on-field and off-field earnings. While Leo Messi grabs the second spot with accumulated earnings close to $135 million.
Ronaldo currently represents the Saudi Pro League side Al-Nassr at the club level. The veteran’s move to Saudi raised many critical questions. However, the 38-year-old closed down all of his critics with stunning performances.
Messi has done the same with the Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami. Argentina’s number ten has been consistently delivering acute performances for the American club. His importance for Miami could be inferred from the team’s below-par performances in his injury absence.
Other names in the Forbes 2023 most-paid soccer players list
Brazilian number ten Neymar Jr. picked up the third spot in the most-paid soccer players list for 2023. Neymar’s total on-field and off-field earnings are reported to be around $112 million. The Brazilian has recently joined the Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal.
Grabbing the number four spot is the Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe. The 24-year-old France international reportedly dwelled a sum of around $110 million gathering both his on-field and off-the-field commitments. Recently, the player has been linked with different clubs, amidst the saga of not elongating his deal with PSG.
Al-Ittihad’s Karim Benzema has made the top five this year. The 35-year-old is currently relishing his time in the Saudi Pro League. Benzema reportedly raked in a sum close to $106 million.
However, most of the figure was boosted by his on-field commitments. His off-the-field earnings just contributed a mere tally of approximately six percent.
With the Saudi Pro League indulging in the big money buys recently, players’ salaries have taken a striking hike. Other leagues around the world might also be forced to step into the Saudi’s shoes. Taking this into context, it would be interesting to see what the list looks like when it comes the next time.